If someone would have suggested that mSATA SSD sales would overtake that of notebook form factor SSDs a few years ago, SSD manufacturers would have told them they were nuts.
After all, the typical notebook size SSD could replace any hard drive, yet mSATA SSD use was extremely limited, to say the least. The ultrabook was just becoming a vision and, for the most part, the mSATA SSD was limited to Lenovo Thinkpad owners.
I remember sitting in more than one boardroom and being told that my thoughts on the success of the mSATA SSD might be a bit premature, the subsequent result being a few lucky mSATA manufacturers cashing in with demand that couldn’t keep up with sales. mSATA retail sales were a constant sell out as it seemed so many forgot that there were over 60 million Lenovo Thinkpad owners that could benefit from this new SSD, an SSD only 1/3 the size of a business card, 14 times lighter than a notebook HDD and easily 5 times higher performing.
Our SSD analysis today is going to examine the KingFast F3 Series 120GB mSATA SSD, an SSD manufactured by a company that doesn’t have a strong North American presence, yet still speaks to 50,000 SSD sales per month.
The KingFast F3 mSATA 3.0 SSD is available in capacities of 30, 60 and 120GB and pricing on their website is presently $62, $84, and $159, respectively. It is a SATA 3 6Gbps mSATA SSD, weighs about 7 grams and measures 51mm x 30mm x 3.5mm. Its performance is listed at 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write transfer performance with 80,000 IOPS at low 4k aligned random write disk access. The KingFast F3 mSATA 3.0 SSD comes with a standard 3 year warranty.
The KingFast F3 mSATA 3.0 SSD comes standard with a mSATA to SATA 3 adapter which is a definite bonus for those that may be replacing another mSATA and wanting to continue use of that SSD.
The KingFast F3 SSD family is ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ and ALL KingFast SSDs use Intel synchronous NAND flash memory. In this case, the SF-2281 SATA 3 flash storage processor (FSP) provides the vital link from the SATA 3 interface to four modules of Intel 25nm NAND flash memory. This memory bears the product number of 29F32B08JCME3 and has been seen in other SSDs to include the OCZ Vertex 4.
Each memory package is 32GB in capacity for a total RAW capacity of 128GB. ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ SSDs typical retain 7% of memory for firmware and over provisioning use, ensuring long term performance stability and endurance. This results in the advertised capacity of 120GB, however once formatted, the total capacity available to the end user for storage is 112GB.
Worthy of note is the fact that KingFast uses only Intel synchronous MLC memory with a program and erase rating of 5,000, this at a time when the world is moving over to 3,000 P/E rated memory with a lower life span.